Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: L. G. C. E. Pugh Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0491
43.5 Linear feet
88 archives boxes, 1 record carton, 5 card files and 48 oversize folders
Date (inclusive): 1940 - 1986
Abstract: The papers of L.G.C.E. Pugh, a British physiologist and mountaineer who combined field and laboratory research in pioneering
work in modern high-altitude physiology and sports medicine. Pugh conducted studies on the impact of the environment on human
physiology and performance during the 1952 British Himalayan Expedition to Mt. Cho Oyu, the 1953 British Himalayan Expedition
to Mt. Everest, the 1960-1961 Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Everest, and the 1957-1958 Trans-Antarctic
Expedition. His research interests were altitude, temperature and exertion. The data he obtained on Mt. Cho Oyu demonstrated
the importance of adequate hydration and oxygen, findings that were crucial to the first successful climb of Mt. Everest in
1953. Pugh was the lead scientist on that expedition, and, with Edmund Hillary, he co-led the 1960-1961 Himalayan Scientific
and Mountaineering Expedition, ("Silver Hut'), which spent five months at 19,000 ft. or higher on Mt. Everest. Pugh also studied
distance swimmers and runners and took part in the evaluation and training of athletes for the 1968 Olympic Games. The collection
contains Pugh's expedition and laboratory research files with notes, calculations and graphs documenting his experiments with
mountain climbers, swimmers, runners and his work on respiration for polio patients; correspondence, much of it related to
his research; reprints and drafts of journal articles, reports and unpublished writings; information on laboratory equipment
and techniques, and photographic material documenting expeditions and experiments. The papers are arranged in twelve series:
1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIAL; 2) GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE; 3) WRITINGS BY PUGH; 4) EXPEDITIONS; 5) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1940-1949;
6) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1950-1959; 7) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1960-1969; 8) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1970-1979; 9) LABORATORY
APPARATUS, CALIBRATIONS AND TECHNIQUES; 10) CONFERENCES, LECTURES AND SYMPOSIA, 11) WRITINGS OF OTHERS, and 12) ORIGINALS
OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
Scope and Content of Collection
The papers of L.G.C.E. Pugh document his scientific career and his participation in the 1952 British Himalayan Expedition
to Mt. Cho Oyu, the 1953 British Himalayan Expedition to Mt. Everest, the 1957-1958 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and the 1960-1961
British Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition. The collection contains administrative and organizational reports,
correspondence, draft writings and reprints, research and expedition notes, calculations and data, photographic material,
manufacturers' brochures and catalogs of equipment used in the laboratory and the field. The bulk of the collection documents
Pugh's research. The papers span the period 1940-1986, occupy 43 linear feet and are arranged in twelve series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS
MATERIAL; 2) CORRESPONDENCE; 3) WRITINGS BY PUGH; 4) EXPEDITIONS; 5) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1940-1949; 6) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES,
1950-1959; 7) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1960-1969; 8) PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1970-1979; 9) LABORATORY APPARATUS, CALIBRATIONS,
TECHNIQUES; 10) CONFERENCES, LECTURES AND SYMPOSIA; 11) WRITINGS OF OTHERS, and 12) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
SERIES 1: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIAL
The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIAL is arranged in two subseries: A) General and B) Appointment Calendars.
A) General. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by topic and contains Pugh's summaries of his career, annual reports
(1956-1974) of the Laboratory for Field Physiology, and meeting minutes (1956-1958) of the Medical Research Council's scientific
staff. It also includes a file of newspaper reports that refer to Pugh's work on cases of hypothermia and photographs of Pugh
in formal and informal settings.
B) Appointment Calendars. Pugh's desk calendars, which he called "planners," track his appointments for an eighteen year
period between 1950 and 1973. They were used mainly for scheduling his speaking, travel and social engagements, but the second
part of the 1958 diary has long entries made during his participation in the Trans-Antarctic expedition that year.
SERIES 2: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series, arranged alphabetically by correspondent, contains letters from members of the high altitude physiology
community including David B. Dill, Ulrich Luft, Nello Pace, Michael P. Ward, and John B. West. Also included are letters from
professional organizations, sports clubs, journals, and expedition planners. Pugh also kept correspondence in his expedition
and research files.
SERIES 3: WRITINGS BY PUGH
The WRITINGS series begins with chronological lists of Pugh's publications and contains almost all of his published and unpublished
works. Most of the published works are journal articles that summarize the results of his experimental physiology studies
and are often in multiple drafts accompanied by research notes, data, reference material, and copies of previous work. Also
included are articles describing his experiences and research on expeditions. There are chapters Pugh contributed to physiology
textbooks and reports he wrote as a medical officer during World War II filed under "Mountain Warfare Training Centre." Pugh's
work in physiological measurement often provided the first instance of baseline data, e.g., "Thermal Conductivity of Human
Fat and Muscle." His "Report on Scientific Work in Connection with the Mount Everest Expedition in 1953," incorporating his
findings from the Mt. Cho Oyu expedition research, was the foundation for the success of the British expedition in 1953.
SERIES 4: EXPEDITIONS
The EXPEDITIONS series documents Pugh's participation in three major mountaineering expeditions, an Antarctic expedition
and several miscellaneous expeditions and is arranged in five subseries: A) British Himalayan Expedition to Mt. Cho Oyu, 1952;
B) British Himalayan Expedition to Mt. Everest, 1953; C) Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1957-1958; D) Silver Hut, 1960-1961;
and E) Miscellaneous Expeditions Material, 1947-1959. Each subseries is arranged alphabetically by topic.
A) British Himalayan Expedition to Mt. Cho Oyu, 1952. Expedition leader Eric Shipton asked Pugh to to serve as physician
and physiologist for this reconnaissance expedition for the planned 1953 Everest attempt. Pugh was to test oxygen units and
other equipment and determine the most efficient oxygen flow rate to improve climbers' performance. Pugh subjected expedition
members and their equipment to intensive evaluation. Data analysis indicated that adequate hydration and nutrition were important
factors and that the oxygen equipment and protective clothing used by earlier expeditions had not been optimally designed.
This subseries contains Pugh's letters to Shipton, his expedition diary and notebooks with field data and information he gathered
on equipment and rations used by previous expeditions. It also includes photographs of mountain terrain and villages, climbing
equipment, expedition members and local people.
B) British Himalayan Expedition to Mt. Everest, 1953. Pugh was the "lead scientist" on the first expedition to reach the
summit, again in a dual role as researcher and physician. This subseries contains correspondence among expedition members
Charles Evans, Edmund Hillary, John Hunt and others, an expedition diary Pugh kept during the climb, research notes and data,
questionnaires on food and equipment completed by expedition members, lists and descriptions of equipment. It includes photographs
of expedition members, campsites, local people, equipment, and terrain.
C) Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1957-1958. Pugh accompanied this expedition to study the effects of low temperatures, the
danger of carbon monoxide poisoning and to evaluate equipment. Polar expeditions arrived in the summer, spent the winter doing
research and were picked up the following summer. While in Antarctica Pugh and Edmund Hillary thought about the possibility
of adapting this type of schedule for a Himalayan expedition. This subseries contains correspondence, research data, notes
and information about equipment, and photographs. See also SERIES 1B: Appointment Calendar 1958 and SERIES 7P.
D) Silver Hut Expedition, 1960-1961.
Pugh and Hillary used the polar expedition model for this expedition, formally called the Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering
Expedion, and set up a research laboratory, the "Silver Hut," at 19,000 feet. The subseries contains the plan for the expedition,
the legal agreement with its sponsor, correspondence among expedition members Edmund Hillary, J.S. Milledge, John West and
others, and blueprints for the Silver Hut laboratory. Also included are descriptions of the scientific program, EKGs for expedition
members, questionnaires they completed after the expedition, photographs, minutes of a meeting held by the scientific team,
equipment lists and descriptions and financial records. See also SERIES 7G and 7H.
E) Miscellaneous Expedition Material, 1947-1971. Pugh's earliest expedition, after his wartime assignments, was with the
Royal Naval Expedition to the Arctic in 1947. This subseries contains Pugh's research notes from that expedition, as well
as correspondence and miscellaneous material from other expeditions he was consulted about or that interested him.
ARRANGEMENT OF THE PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES SERIES
Throughout his career, Pugh emphasized the importance of field work. He would identify and define problems in the laboratory,
work toward solutions in the field and return to the laboratory to analyze field data and design follow-up experiments. His
approach, influenced by his war experiences and the focus of the Medical Research Council's environmental program, was to
examine the effects of extremes: high altitude, low temperature, and elite athletes. He also developed practical applications
of his findings, preparing guidelines and designing equipment for survival in harsh conditions.
Pugh's physiology research files reflect his approach and methods and are arranged in four series of PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES,
arranged by decade. Individual projects and experiments are arranged alphabetically in subseries within the series in which
they begin. For the most part, the subseries folders retain Pugh's original file headings.
SERIES 5: PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1940-1949.
A) Channel Swimming. From the late 1940s through the mid-1950s Pugh conducted a series of experiments on long distance swimmers
attempting to cross the English Channel. The experimental protocols measured body type, specific gravity, subcutaneous fat,
cold tolerance, and diet. His findings indicated that body build and fat played an important role in a swimmer's success.
Included are data notebooks, protocols, graphs, maps, and correspondence.
B) Lung Volume. The subject of oxygen transport was central to Pugh's interest in the effects of the environment and exertion
upon performance. This subseries contains experimental data that spans a decade of his measurements of lung capacity, dead
space and the analysis of gases in expired air.
C) Mountain Warfare Training Centre. In 1942 Pugh was assigned to the Ski Wing of this training center located in Lebanon
at over 6,000 ft. He was responsible for designing procedures and writing reports on the selection, training, testing, and
maintenance of mountain warfare troops. This subseries contains data on prospective trainees gathered at different points
during the selection and training process, reference material, notes, and memoranda on rations, clothing, equipment, navigation,
and survival in cold and snow. See also SERIES 3: Mountain Warfare Training Centre.
D) Polish Refugee Camp and Epidemic Thyphus. Prior to his assignment at the Training Center, Pugh was stationed at a camp
receiving Polish refugees, some of whom had contracted typhus. The subseries contains data on the origin of the epidemic,
the course of the disease in patients and recommendations on rations.
E) Rheumatoid Arthritis. At the end of the war, Pugh carried out a series of experiments on healthy soldiers in Holland in
1945 and continued this line of research in England at Hammersmith Hospital from 1947-1950. The preliminary work focused on
the relationship of trigger points and nodules as indices of the disease, and the Hammersmith work went on to explore blood
flow, the effects of cold water immersion and why jaundice and pregnancy brought about remission. Included are data notebooks
SERIES 6: PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1950-1959
A) Blood Experiments. Between 1950-1972 Pugh worked on the analysis of blood gases using several techniques and various subjects:
cigarrette smokers, mothers and babies and Weddell seals. He looked at the effects of smoking, carbon monoxide and blood volumes
on blood gases. Included are data notebooks, protocols and procedures.
B) Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. This set of experiments conducted between 1953-1960 focused on the carbon monoxide dissociation
curve in deoxygenated blood samples and tested various methods of resuscitation on dogs. The subseries contains experimental
C) Hypnosis. This small set of experiments conducted in 1959-1960 looked at respiratory and metabolic changes in hypnotized
human subjects and contains protocols, experimental data and graphs.
D) Miscellaneous Experiments, "Old". This is the first of the two categories Pugh used for single file experiments. Work
in this subseries was done in 1950-1959, and represents several research areas: thermal conductivity, carbon dioxide sensitivity
and body fat measurement.
E) Respiration and Poliomyelitis. This subseries contains data gathered on patients at Queen's Square Hospital in1955-1956,
and material on Pugh's work with the Working Party on Bulbar Paralysis (1954-1957), which looked into areas of respiratory
paralysis in need of research, and the Breathing Machines Group (1955-1960), which evaluated the types of machines available
to polio patients. The Groups' recommendations cover clinical assessment and diagnosis, management of patients in respirators,
and basic research into respiratory failure. The subseries contains correspondence, agendas, memoranda, reports and press
releases. See also SERIES 3: Report on Visit to Copenhagen..., and SERIES 9A: Poliomyelitis Breathing Machines.
F) Resting Experiments. There are two small experiments in this subseries. The "Slimming Experiment," conducted in 1956-1957,
involved an overweight, thirty-three year old subject in a weight loss program, and measured respiratory exchange, food and
fluids, water loss, and water content of body fat. The "Meditation Experiment" examined the effects of meditation and measured
oxygen volume, ventilation and respiration before, during and after meditation.
G) Solar Radiation. The experiments in this subseries used data gathered in the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1958-1959, to
examine the relationships between clothing, insulation, temperture, and radiation. It includes handwritten research data and
notes from the Antarctic expedition. See also SERIES 4C.
H) Work Experiments. A long series of experiments, 1951-1965, measured physiological responses to a variety of activities:
bicycling, the Harvard step test, standing, swimming, and walking. Pugh was often one of the subjects in these experiments.
The protocols measured oxygen consumption, calorie cost, heart rate, gas mixtures and Wolf temperature pill results. Included
are protocols, experimental data and graphs.
SERIES 7: PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1960-1969
A) Bracknell 40 Km. Trials. Looking toward British participation in the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968, runners and walkers
participated in a series of experiments at the Bracknell outdoor track to evaluate performance. Protocols measured blood,
lactic acid, body temperature, and weight. Pugh was particularly concerned about chronic dehydration in the endurance events,
and one experiment had a special diet for long distance walkers. Included are research notes, experimental data, protocols,
B) Cardiac Output. This 1963-1964 set of experiments used different approaches- the acetylene, carbon dioxide and Haldane
combustion methods- to measure cardiac output. Includes protocols, data notebooks and graphs.
C) Edale 1 and Edale 2 - Exposure. Named for a town in the Derbyshire Hills, these 1964-1965 experiments had a group of Rover
Scouts, nineteen to twenty-five years old, walk twenty miles of hilly terrain in 10 to 12 hours. Not long before, four young
hikers had died from hypothermia during a hill-walking race and Pugh was asked to investigate the possible causes. The protocols
recorded blood volume, energy expenditure, lactic acid, heart rates, skin temperatures, and urine composition. Included are
data notebooks, experimental results and graphs. See also Series 3: Thermal Metabolic, Blood and Circulatory Adjustments in
Prolonged Outdoor Exercise.
D) Exposure. These laboratory experiments, conducted between 1965 and 1971, follow on from the Edale field work, further
investigating physiological responses to cold, damp and windy conditions. Data was gathered in wind tunnel and cold chamber
experiments, in post-mortem examinations, and case histories. Included are experimental data, protocols, case histories, information,
and a fabric sample for a "survival suit."
E) Farnborough Treadmill. This 1967-1968 study focused on the effects of wind on treadmill running. Protocols measured oxygen
consumption, expired air, and velocity. The subseries includes data, graphs and photographs of Pugh, a runner and a treadmill
F) Font Romeu Pre-Olympic Games Training Center. The work done at this center in 1967 investigated the effects of high altitude
on Olympic-level athletes. Protocols recorded data on 20-mile race walkers and runners in the three mile and marathon events,
measuring their oxygen consumption, heart rate, sweat rate, and blood gases. Pugh's focus was air resistance, oxygen debt,
arterial oxygen saturation, running efficiency, body temperature, and the effect of prior altitude training on sea level performance.
The subseries includes experimental data, protocols and notes on proposed research.
G) Himalayan Blood Experiments. Blood data was collected during the 1960-1961 Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition
and samples from British and Sherpa climbers were taken and analyzed for carbon dioxide dissociation, pH and saturation levels
in relation to altitude levels. The subseries includes experimental data, notes and graphs. See also SERIES 4D.
H) Himalayan Expedition Experiments. This set of experiments focused on "work" related factors-- cardiac output, blood pressure
and gases, and expired air-- gathering data from climbers during the 1960-1961 Himalayan expedition. Expedition data was then
compared to sea level data collected before the trip. This subseries also contains data from Man Bahadur, the "Nepalese pilgrim"
who wandered into the base camp, and from Sherpas and other Indians. See also SERIES 4D.
I) Marathon Running. These experiments were conducted between 1966 and 1968 and addressed Pugh's concern with heat stress
in distance runners. Data was collected from several races with protocols measuring body temperature, weight, lactic acid,
and diet. The subseries includes experimental data, correspondence and graphs.
J) Mexico City, 1965. In preparation for Britain's participation in the 1968 Olympic Games, Pugh studied six long distance
runners in a month-long series of tests and evaluations in Mexico City at 7,434 feet. Protocols measured oxygen intake, work
rates, carbon dioxide percentages, heart rates, and temperature. The subseries includes a notebook with newspaper clippings
about Pugh and the experiments, protocols, graphs, and data notebooks.
K) Mexico City, 1967-1968. This subseries contains data collected shortly before and during the Games. The protocols cover
calcium levels, urine and plasma analyses, and EKGs. Also included is a scrapbook kept by Mike Turner, an Olympic distance
runner and one of Pugh's long-term research subjects. The scrapbook contains event results, newspaper clippings and annotations.
L) Miscellaneous Experiments - "Z Series". This is the second of Pugh's categories for single file experiments and contains
work done between 1951-1972, although most are from the 1960s. Again, this subseries represents a range of Pugh's continuing
research areas: oxygen, carbon monoxide, lactic acid, and adds work on blood glucose, women's temperatures and laboratory
techniques. It includes experimental data, notes, graphs, and reference material.
M) Motspur Park and St. Mary's Tracks. These experiments carried out between 1966 and 1969 focused on air resistance and
the energy cost of running on an outdoor track. There are protocols for a glycogen-fat study, oxygen consumption and respiratory
exchange. The subseries includes data notebooks, protocols and graphs.
N) Ski Girls. These experiments conducted between 1966 and 1972 compared three groups of women: Olympic-level skiers, competent
skiers and non-skiers or "normals." The subjects performed several types of tests- knee bends, step tests and pedaling. Protocols
measured oxygen intake, heart rate, skinfold thickness, among others. Included are experimental notes and data, protocols
and graphs. The subseries also includes correspondence, newspaper clippings and photographs.
O) Skin and Rectal Temperature. These 1967-1975 experiments investigated heat regulation in runners and were conducted at
outdoor tracks and under controlled conditions in the laboratory. Protocols recorded body temperature, EKGs, respiratory water,
and metabolic weight loss. Included are experimental notes and data, protocols and graphs.
P) Solar Radiation. These studies were done between 1958-1975, with the bulk of the experiments conducted between 1960 and
1969. Data was collected in Antarctica, the Himalayas, Mexico City, and the Kew Observatory in Surrey, England. Protocols
cover sextant altitude, sextant error, parallax, and latitude. The subseries includes experimental protocols, data, notes,
graphs, and correspondence. See also SERIES 4C.
Q) Treadmill Wind Experiments. Most of these 1968-1970 experiments were conducted in wind tunnels with subjects walking or
skating on treadmills and gradients. Protocols measured work rate, oxygen consumption, wind, and drag. The subseries includes
experimental protocols, notes, data, graphs, and photographs.
SERIES 8: PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES, 1970-1979
A) Cardiac Output. This 1970-1974 work involved two cyclists, a fourteen year old subject and a non-athlete female subject.
Protocols measured heart rate, expired air, and gas analysis. In 1973-1974 Pugh was secretary of the Exercise Subcommittee,
Working Party on Cardiac Rehabilitation, and this subseries includes correspondence and meeting agendas for the group. Also
included are protocols, experimental data, graphs, and EKG printouts.
B) Cycling. The protocols for these 1971-1972 experiments measured the energy costs of cycling and recorded speed, resistance
and skin temperature. This subseries includes experimental data graphs, correspondence, and photographs of apparatus and subjects.
See also SERIES 3: The Relation of Oxygen Intake and Speed in Competition Cycling and Comparative Observations on the Bicycle
C) Maximum Oxygen Intake. A variety of subjects were examined in these 1969-1974 experiments: female athletes, middle- and
long-distance runners, climbers, skiers, cyclists and athletes in their 50s and 60s. Protocols recorded oxygen volume, EKGs
and acetone levels. Included are protocols, experimental data, graphs, and correspondence.
D) Maximum Oxygen Intake in Men and Women. This 1972 experiment measured resting metabolic rates, the relation of body weight
to oxygen efficiency, degrees of force, and drew statistical comparisons between male and female subjects. Included are experimental
notes and data, statistical comparisons and graphs.
E) Thermography. These experiments conducted between 1967-1974 used infra-red color thermography to picture skin temperature
variations in athletes standing and running outdoors. Subjects were filmed with an AGA model 680 thermovision camera and this
subseries contains the "cut-outs" or photoprints of sections of the runner's body. See also SERIES 3: Skin Temperature during
Running: A Study Using Infra-Red Colour Thermography.
F) Treadmill Running and Walking Against Wind. These 1967-1974 laboratory experiments used a treadmill in a wind tunnel and
added factors of load, restraint, and gradient. Protocols measured speed, heart rate, respiration, and expired air. Included
are experimental protocols, data and graphs.
SERIES 9: APPARATUS, CALIBRATIONS AND TECHNIQUES
The APPARATUS, CALIBRATIONS AND TECHNIQUES series consists of Pugh's original files on equipment for the physiology laboratory
and field research and use his headings for the three subseries: A) Apparatus, B) Calibrations and C) Techniques. Each subseries
begins with a set of index cards that Pugh used for several purposes: as a directory of manufacturers, to locate material
in the files, to record bibliographic references to the work of others, and to relate experiments to specific laboratory equipment
A) Apparatus Brochures and Catalogs. This subseries contains manufacturers' brochures, catalogs, manuals, instructions on
use, photographs, and correspondence on standard laboratory equipment for sampling and analysis. It also contains material
Pugh collected on breathing machines for his study of respiration and poliomyelitis. See also SERIES 6E.
B) Calibrations. This subseries contains correspondence, manufacturers' instructions and Pugh's notes and instructions on
calibrating various types of apparatus.
C) Techniques. In addition to Pugh's notes and data on procedures for using apparatus, he compiled comparative data on their
performance. This subseries contains his notes and instructions, reference material and correspondence.
SERIES 10: CONFERENCES, LECTURES AND SYMPOSIA
Pugh's association with dangerous pursuits in exotic locations, particularly the Mt. Everest expeditions, and his work with
Channel swimmers, Olympic athletes and British hikers, gave him public visibility, and his original and rigorous research
studies earned him the high regard of his scientific colleagues. The combination created great demand for him as a speaker.
This series, arranged by title, contains material from Pugh's appearances in the venues of his several roles: as a public
figure explaining and interpreting his work to the general public, as a lecturer in academia, and as a researcher addressing
his peers at symposia and conferences. The series is broadly representative of the range of Pugh's pure and applied research,
his expedition experiences and the variety of his audiences. In some cases there are complete final texts of his presentations,
accompanied by drafts, notes and correspondence. Sometimes there is only an abstract or a conference program.
SERIES 11: WRITINGS OF OTHERS.
Pugh maintained extensive reference files of reprints of others who worked in his own and related fields. The series begins
with his numbered list of reprints, dating between 1901 and 1973, but not retained in the collection. It also contains typescripts
by some of Pugh's colleagues in high altitude physiology, including R.B. and T.D. Bourdillon, J.S. Milledge, J. West, S. Lahiri,
and others. They are in typescript and most of them cover high altitude topics.
SERIES 12: ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES series contains the originals of brittle, or high acid content documents that have
Lewis Griffith Cresswell Evans Pugh was born on October 19, 1909, in Shrewsbury, England. He studied medicine at Oxford University
and obtained his medical degree in 1939. At the start of World War II he joined the British Army as a medical officer and
in 1943 was sent to the Mountain Warfare Training Centre to select, train and evaluate the fitness of ski troops at a school
for mountain warfare in Lebanon. There he began a career of research into the physiological effects of altitude, temperature
At the end of the war Pugh was in Belgium carrying out research in rheumatology, which he concluded in England at the British
Postgraduate Medical School, London.
He then began cardiovascular research but was interrupted in 1947 by an invitation from the British Navy to accompany a voyage
to the Arctic. This expedition brought him back to field physiology and the study of responses to cold. In 1950 Pugh joined
the Medical Research Council's new Division in Human Physiology, set up to study the effects of extreme environments. He continued
his research on cold and carried out groundbreaking work in determining the thermal conductivity of human tissue and the role
of subcutaneous fat in tolerance to cold water immersion.
Pugh went on four more expeditions during his career, three to the Himalayas (Mt. Cho Oyu, 1952, Mt. Everest, 1953, and the
Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition 1960-1961), and the 1957 Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The data he collected from the
Cho Oyu climbers indicated that adequate hydration and nutrition were important factors, and that the oxygen equipment and
clothing used by earlier expeditions had not been optimally designed. His work on hydration, nutrition, oxygen flow rates
and protective clothing solved many of the problems of high altitude activity and contributed to the success of the 1953 British
expedition to Mt. Everest. Pugh had helped plan and outfit the expedition, participated as the lead scientist and physician
and became part of the group of scientists- Bruno Balke, R.B. and T.B. Bourdillon, David Bruce Dill, Charles Houston, Ulrich
Luft, Nello Pace, Michael Ward, John West- that established modern high altitude physiology.
In 1957 Pugh took part, with Nello Pace, in the first Trans-Antarctic Expedition, visiting Scott Base and the South Pole.
He studied cold stress and the effects of solar radiation on humans and the adaptive mechanisms of seals. In 1960, he headed
the scientific team on the Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition, led by Edmund Hillary. This expedition became
known as the Silver Hut Expedition, named for the laboratory set up on the Ming Bo glacier at 19,000 ft. Researchers spent
five months investigating the physiology of exertion and levels of respiratory oxygen.
When not on expeditions, Pugh conducted laboratory research at the Medical Research Council's Human Physiology Division.
In 1954 the Council appointed Pugh to study respiratory failure and the use of respirators in cases of poliomyelitis. He set
up the Laboratory for Field Physiology at the National Hospital in London, where he also carried out research in carbon monoxide
In 1964 the deaths of four hikers from exposure led to Pugh's continuing his research into the effects of cold. In a series
of field and laboratory experiments, he demonstrated that the combined cooling effects of wind and wet clothing could quickly
lead to hypothermia even when the temperature was above freezing. The next year, the British Olympic Committee asked Pugh
to head a research group to study the effects of altitude on athletes in preparation for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico
City, located above 7,000 ft. Pugh also found that distance runners were subject to heat stress. For the rest of the decade,
and into the 1970s, Pugh designed and conducted experiments with athletes as subjects, and closed his career with studies
using infra-red thermography to learn how athletes regulate body temperature.
Pugh died on December 22, 1994.
Sources: THE TIMES (London), January 7, 1995; HYPOXIA SYMPOSIUM, J.R. Sutton, et al., eds., 1993; West, J., HIGH LIFE: A
HISTORY OF HIGH-ALTITUDE PHYSIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, 1998.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
L. G. C. E. Pugh Papers, MSS 491. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Document contained in Box 39, Folder 12 is restricted because of its fragility; researchers must use the photocopy substitute.
Photographs of Channel swimmers located in Box 49, Folder 4 are deemed medical records and are restricted accordingly.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Altitude, Influence of
Exercise -- Physiological aspects
Physiologists -- Biography
Mountaineering expeditions -- Himalaya Mountains
Physiology -- History
West, John B. (John Burnard)
Horvath, Steven M.